Friday, March 19, 2010


Whenever I meet a book lover, his or her first question is: what's your book about? The second question is: where did you come up with the idea?

The End Game is a mystery about two young Atlanta girls who are kidnapped for the overseas sex trade. Heroine Moriah Dru established Child Trace, Inc. after leaving the Atlanta Police Department. She'll find lost children for anyone, but most of her work originates with the juvenile court system. With the help of Detective Lieutenant Richard Lake, Dru sets out to find the Rose girls after their house burns down. and their foster parents are dead inside.

Robin Agnew, of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association, reviewed my novel. I'll let her tell a little about the book.

"Ferris’ ethos isn’t cozy, it’s fairly hard boiled, and so is the topic she’s chosen to write about: missing children. Her spare prose and unsentimental writing style get you through some of the hard stuff in the story. … Like a runaway freight train, this novel is all about narrative drive."

Robin says other good stuff about my novel – although there are certain aspects I didn't realize I'd accomplished. As I intended, Robin nails the style and purpose of the narrative. I believe the spare prose and unsentimental writing style come from my journalism background. I worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for nearly twenty years.

In those first years, I edited the columns of nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist Lewis Grizzard. As his popularity grew, he compiled his writings – which exemplified his beloved South – into books that landed on the New York Times Best Seller List year after year. Lewis became my mentor, and I learned to edit as sparsely as he did. One caveat though, writing novels isn't like writing for a newspaper. You've got to put a little more flesh on the skeleton.

That brings me to the second question asked about my book: where did you come up with the story idea? Lewis died in 1994, and I joined the National Desk, where I traveled and wrote for a section of the newspaper called, Around the South. My last assignment was on the City Desk, and then I retired.

A sensational case in Atlanta became the genesis of my novel. A child went missing. He was four or five years old, and they couldn't find him in the foster care system. He'd been passed from family to family and then lost. How can you lose a child in the system? As far as I know, he was never found. About that time, the APD was busting massage parlors and finding ten-to-twelve-year-old foreign girls working in the back rooms, giving more than a traditional massage. The lost child and the young girls imported by real slavers inspired The End Game.

There is a third question I'm asked: what does the title mean? Overseas slave rings have names; one of the most infamous is called Snakehead. I named my fictional human traffickers after chess pieces. Dru and Lake will do anything to keep the Rose girls from becoming part of The End Game.

From: Sweet Mystery

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